Kim Allen has been practicing Insight meditation since 2003, and has trained intensively in the U.S. and Asia with cumulative years of silent retreat. She has practiced with primary teacher Gil Fronsdal and other Western teachers, Theravādan monastics, and a few Mahāyāna teachers, and now offers retreats, sutta study, and experiential Dharma engagement. A teacher and author, Kim aims to bring classical Dharma to a modern context and to encourage lay practitioners in fully living a life of Dharma. Her education includes a PhD in physics and a master’s degree in environmental sustainability, and her website is https://www.uncontrived.org.
From where does speech originate? How does our speech feed back to affect our own heart (in addition to other people)? These are worthy investigations in Buddhist practice. Speech ties back to the three unwholesome roots of greed, hatred, and delusion, as well as the three wholesome roots of non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion. Our choices in this realm have a major impact.
What kinds of wealth are most sustainable in times of loss? The Buddha defined five kinds of wealth that are especially appropriate for lay practitioners to develop: confidence, ethical conduct, learning, generosity, and wisdom. The inclusion of “learning” is interesting and not often emphasized. We will explore these five qualities in the context of our current times, considering how they can serve both ourselves and others.
This talk focuses on a style of practice that could be called “training in opposites.” We deliberately engage contrasting functions of the mind in order to broaden and stretch, or opposing viewpoints in order to hone our understanding.
The Seven Factors of Awakening offer an effective framework for cultivating the mind, overcoming the hindrances, and balancing the energetic and calming forces that develop through meditation. When these seven factors are well developed, the mind is ripe for awakening. This series will explore each factor to reveal its importance, function, and role in the process of awakening.
In this talk Kim Allen develops an ecological metaphor to help us cultivate our mind and develop our practice. She outlines four approaches to our practice grounded in terms of natural ecologies:
1) Broadening our focus
2) Revising our notions of good and bad
3) Developing a coherent sense of our goal by creating a healthy ecosystem and then letting go
4) Expanding from our inner ecology and balancing with the outer ecology.
Kim Allen gave the second talk in a speaker series titled "Goals in Meditation." Kim advised that instead of spending time wishing for attending some future goals, we can just do the practice. When we develop and nurture the process of the liberating path, it will naturally lead us to the goal of the path.
We invited several local teachers to share both the personal aims that guide their practice and their understanding of the goals of the Buddhist Path. We asked them the following questions:
What is the goal of Buddhist practice?
What do you personally hope to achieve through your practice?
What is a reasonable way to assess our progress – how can we tell if we are on track?
How can we work skillfully with goals in the context of mindfulness-based practices that emphasize present moment awareness?
This series will explore both the ultimate and relative goals of Buddhist practice. It will address the benefits and limitations of having goals, and explore some related practice issues: comparing, expectations, craving for attainments, inspiration, and the potential for discouragement.
Join us for an illuminating look into some aspects of your practice you may never have considered!
Kim Allen gave the third talk in a speaker series titled "Everyday Dhamma." She discussed how money is an important part of our life, as well as a potent realm for practice. Much of what the Buddha said about wealth and money was about our relationship to money, because this is where our suffering and freedom lies. More specifically, we can easily have an unwholesome relationship to our wealth. For example, we can become miserly and crave even more wealth. Or we can establish a wholesome relationship with our wealth, such as supporting our family, our friends, and the Dhamma. In this way, we can relate to money with wisdom and generosity, instead of grasping and fear.
Can busy lay practioners realize the fruits of the Buddhist path? How can we bring mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion into our family, community, and workplace activities? This speaker series will explore the intersection of the Buddha's teachings with the complex demands of contemporary daily life. Each speaker will explore a theme that highlights social issues or practical applications related to living a mindful life at work, with family, and in today's society.